One of my correspondents who keeps me abreast of things says I missed out on all the fun one night last week when a number of drivers got their cars stuck on the new “no left turn” curbs the highway department thoughtfully constructed in the middle of the streets around the traffic “T.”
It seems that at night, the curbs are difficult to see and are all constructed in areas where if anybody might have an urge to turn left, that would be the spot.
My correspondent says the employees of two different businesses were entertained for some time with the “screeching of metal and sparks flying everywhere” from the cars hung up on the curbs. I hate that I missed it but it may turn out to be a regular occurrence.
Anyway, that particular area has been interesting for several years now. I even remember it long before the “T” was there and before the traffic circle was built. One of Brownwood’s better motels and restaurants was located just north of the “T.” It was called Willow Garden Motel and Restaurant.
If a movie star happened to be passing through town, he, or she would have stayed there. In fact, I think one did once, but I don’t remember who it was. We didn’t have many motels back then and even fewer movie stars passing through. The Grande Courts were located on East Commerce and they were reasonably nice, but I don’t remember any movie stars staying there, either.
One of our motels was an asset to the police department. If they happened to be looking for a particular thief, drunk or prostitute, they could be found at the Alamo Motel. I think they named it after the real Alamo in San Antonio where Texans fought 13 days for freedom.
At this Alamo, they fought every night and usually lost their freedom.
As everybody knows, where the “T” is now was a traffic circle for years. This too was confusing to some motorists. Back in the ’50s when I was a cop, we carried gasoline to one fellow three times in one night. He couldn’t find his way off the thing.
In England, traffic circles are called “Round-Abouts” and hardly anything upsets the British except missing tea.
Back in the ’50s, a local banker donated the money and a large pool with colored lights and a fountain was built in the middle of it. It was a sight to behold. Hundreds of folks attended the grand opening, held at night to show off the lights.
But then, with daylight came the usual Texas wind which blew sheets of water onto the surrounding businesses and soaked the street causing cars to skid. One enterprising woman shucked her clothes one night and took a bath in it causing more traffic problems.
The amount of water pressure was cut down and the effectiveness of the fountain was lost. Eventually, the pumping equipment went bad and the pool was filled in and flowers planted. Maybe back then somebody was thinking, “Hey, let’s build a ‘T’ here and put some curbs in the street so nobody can make a left turn.”
Progress, they say, comes from new ideas.
I have no idea how this project is supposed to turn out and I’m not worried about it. I know nine different ways to go anywhere I might want to go, none of which require me to turn left unless I want to. I do miss the traffic circle though.
I miss a lot of things.
Harry Marlin’s column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletin’s Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.